B.C. graduation requirements took centre stage in Surrey last week

photo by Audrey McKinnon

The graduation requirements for high schools are up for discussion in B.C.

Last Wednesday, Surrey parents, students, school administration and district staff showed up to talk about where graduation requirements might be headed from a Surrey view, including the question of whether the current system of grading on tests and assignments really works and what might be a better solution.

This is part of the Ministry of Education’s review of the current graduation requirements.

Can talking about graduation requirements make an impact?

Surrey schools’ deputy superintendent Jordan Tinney says talks like these will have an impact on the decisions that are eventually made on the graduation requirement.

“Do I believe the Ministry is listening? Yes, I do,” he said.

A report from the meeting will be sent to the Ministry of Education.

Are students valued under the our current grading system?

Live-tweets at the Wednesday meeting expressed a common thread of student views saying they didn’t feel valued under the current grading system for their skills outside of academic achievement.

Teachers were positive to the possibility of grading students on a one-on-one basis where students and teachers would meet and talk about the student’s progress.

“If the student needed a mark . . . they could have a discussion about it and decide if they deserve 90 per cent or another mark,” said schools Coun. Charlene Dobie, who sat at one of the round tables during the Graduation Requirements Dialogue, hosted by Surrey schools.

Dobie said favouritism could be a challenge if the grading system went in that direction.

“That would be something that the teachers would have to be very careful about,” she said.

Cross over into American colleges and universities might also be a hurdle.

Students aren’t just interested in winning scholarships as recognition

Tinney said the students were also interested in different kinds of awards for success in school, outside of scholarships. Students said they would like to receive a letter from the Ministry of Education instead of funding. That way students could find different ways to stand out to prospective universities.

“They want universities to have a better idea of who they are,” said Tinney.

So, are graduation requirements where they should be? Did you attend the dialogue? What else did you find interesting at the meeting?

[See my Storify “Examining B.C. exams and attitudes around them”]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s